The National Treasury has made an amount of R800m available for the Green Fund over the next two financial years.
Making the announcement on Wednesday ahead of her department’s Budget Vote in Parliament, Minister for Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, said the money represented a critical resource mechanism to achieve a just transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and job creating green economy growth path in South Africa as envisaged by the New Growth Path, climate change and National Sustainable Development policies.
“The primary objective of the Green Fund is to provide catalytic finance for high quality, high impact green economy projects and mainstreaming activities which would not have been implemented without fiscal support,” Molewa said.
She also noted that the South African government had identified the green economy as one of the key elements in the New Growth Path as well as in the Industrial Policy Action Plan, adding that it was incumbent upon South Africans to debunk the myth that environment management hindered development, by positioning the sector as a major contributor to job creation and the fight against poverty.
“The transformation of our industries towards the building of a green economy has many facets, [it is mainly] about creating new labour absorbing industries that also mitigate impacts on the environment.
Going green means green for job opportunities
“This green economy offers substantial opportunities for job creation and development in the environmental goods and services sector, particularly in biodiversity, waste and natural resource management services,” she said.
Last year, the department committed to implementing an environment sector green economy implementation plan through a local and international partnership with green investments, supported by domestic funding from the National Treasury’s Green Fund, as well as international funding through bilateral cooperation programmes and multilateral facilities such as the World Bank Clean Technology Fund and the newly established Green Climate Fund.
Meanwhile, a maximum of 800 unemployed school leavers and graduates, mostly from rural areas, are to be hired in biodiversity jobs for a period of two and a half years.
Molewa said through the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the department would manage the process of placing a maximum the unemployed school leavers and graduates in biodiversity jobs.
“SANBI’s application to the jobs fund titled Catalysing Access to Employment and Job Creation in Ecosystem Management was approved by the Development Bank of Southern Africa to the tune of R300m.
“The funding would be used in a catalytic manner so as to attract new and additional investment, stimulate job creation and lay the foundations for South Africa’s transition to a low carbon job resource efficient growth path,” Molewa explained.